You’ll be reading many research papers over the next 12 months and maybe this is something that you haven’t done before. Fortunately, there are techniques to reading a research paper so that you’ll get the most out of your reading. Keep your notes on the paper in an electronic form so you can track what research is relevant to your current work. The METALS faculty may have some additional suggestions, but I believe that these are good places to start.
A guide that I like is https://violentmetaphors.com/2013/08/25/how-to-read-and-understand-a-scientific-paper-2/ and a worked out example using the methodology can be found here https://violentmetaphors.com/2013/09/08/an-example-of-how-to-read-a-vaccine-safety-study/. This was written by Jennifer A. (Kedzie) Raff who is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kansas. Note that she stresses the importance of note taking (reflection).
A slightly different approach can be found here: https://www.eecs.harvard.edu/~michaelm/postscripts/ReadPaper.pdf. This was written by Michael Mitzenmacher who is a professor in the Computer Science Department at Harvard. It doesn’t include all the steps above, but may be sufficient. A corresponding powerpoint presentation that may be helpful can be found here: http://www.research4life.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Part_A_How_to_Read_a_Scientific_Paper_2014_06.ppt